We give you our twenty-seventh installment of KP Critiques! We greatly appreciate the willingness of our subscribers to subject their work underneath our editor’s scrutiny. While critiques are necessary and greatly beneficial, it’s never easy to put your work out there for all to see, and for it to be publicly critiqued. Thank you for having the courage to partake of this daring endeavor! journeymaldroc
(Our editors really aren’t that scary.)


Journey to Maldroc

Levi Pierpont


Gavryn awoke to his sister, Autumn, shaking his arm. “Gavryn, it’s time to go to school!” She cried. “We could be late!”

“Sorry, Autumn… just… really… tired.” He replied, his voice groggy and shaky. He got out of bed and found his school things, put them in his backpack, and walked down the hall to eat breakfast. He was always quick at getting ready.

“Gavryn, can you take the trash out to the incinerator? Josyia already left for school.”

Incinerator. Interesting.

“Sure thing, Mom.” Gavryn replied. He needed a minute away from others to think.

“Thank you, Gav.” She replied.

Third time in a row that ‘replied’ has been used. Might consider mixing things up with the dialogue tags.

He took the trash bag and walked out the front door and around the house, taking two steps on each segment of the walkway. Birds were the loudest at this hour, and cars could be heard from the nearby highway, going to pick people up and take them to their workplaces. Finally he reached the big metal box that burned the trash. He took the bag, threw it in, and began to walk back to the house. The incinerator roared to life and burned up the trash, making an impenetrable sound for a moment. But as it shut down, Gavryn noticed another sound, a ringing in his ear. At first it was quiet and distant, but as he stopped to listen, it got louder, and louder, and louder. He looked around for something that could be making the sound, but failed to spot anything. At this point it was so loud he could barely hear himself think. He faintly heard his mother call for him, but when he looked towards the house, he found he couldn’t make out any details; it was all blurry. In fact, the more he stared, the more his vision shrank.

Nice word choice here!

He looked around to see that now everything was blurry, and he couldn’t continue walking towards the house.

Instead of telling us he couldn’t continue walking towards the house, show us.  

The ringing was now the only thing he could hear, and everything around him went white. He looked down, but couldn’t see his feet. He lifted his hand up to his face, but it was as if the white was in between him and his hand. Then… Nothing. Not black or white, not silence or sound. Just nothing. It was the kind of thing you had to experience to know what it was like.

Not sure how necessary this is. Almost detracts from the flow of the story.

Gavryn reasoned frantically in his mind. Did I pass out? Did something hurt me? Am I dying? Is this what it feels like to leave the world? Then even his thoughts disappeared, and he couldn’t even find himself. He was just gone. Then, what may have been seconds or minutes or hours later, he thought again. Then he saw white again, and heard ringing again, and everything came back to him. He heard a bird chirping. Then a brook bubbling.

The ‘Then’ is overused.

Then squirrels chit-chattering above him and causing leaves to drift down to the ground.

So the squirrels chattering is causing leaves to fall?

This was strange. He had only heard birds outside. There was a brook nearby, but he didn’t remember hearing it this close. His eyes finally cooperated with his brain and he began to see everything. First, he noticed that it was really bright now, and the colors themselves seem to be more alive. Then he looked around, but couldn’t ‘see anything he recognized.

Couldn’t is overused in this passage.

Now fear set in. How will I find my way back home? Where am I? What if I get lost here forever and starve? Have I been abducted by the aliens? Then he noticed something that silenced all his mental chatter: a squirrel, tilting its head at him like a dog. But this wasn’t a normal squirrel. This squirrel’s fur was dark green with streaks of brown, and two small antlers grew above the ears.

That would be an odd sight for sure! 😛

Gavryn took a step back and the squirrel’s tail waved back and forth, then flew down a small path into the brush of the forest.

From the way it’s phrased, it sounds as though the tail is disembodied and flew down the path. I know you meant the squirrel though. 😛

This is great! I’m curious as to where he ended up. You have my interest. (which is excellent!) One thing to watch out for is the amount of telling done in this passage. There is a time and a place for telling and showing, but when the character is experiencing something, instead of just telling the reader what is going on, show it. Let the reader be lost in the white as well. Put some emotion in there. Gayryn didn’t seem all that panicked. When he can’t see his feet…well, I think I’d be freaking out and kind of wondering if I could still feel them, or if they’d just been erased. Something along those lines.

Something else to consider is word choice. A lot of the same words were used, and that can be a good thing in some instances for emphasis purposes, but it can get monotonous for the reader. This can all be worked out in the editing process, but it’s something to watch out for.

Overall, great job! Keep writing and I hope to read more of this in the future! 🙂  
~Haley Long